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DHL Express has ordered 12 fully electric freighter aircraft from Seattle’s Eviation, set to deliver in 2024.
The aircraft type, named Alice, will be flown by a single pilot and will carry 1,200 kg (2,600 lb), with a maximum range of 814km.
Charging time is 30 minutes or less for each one flight hour, and can be done during loading/unloading and Alice is set to take its first flight this year.
“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express.
“Therefore, our investments always follow the objective of improving our carbon footprint. On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal.”
Alice is designed to operate in environments currently served by piston and turbine aircraft. Eviation claims its advanced electric motors have fewer moving parts, thus increasing reliability and cutting maintenance costs.
“From day one, we set an audacious goal to transform the aviation industry and create a new era with electric aircraft,” said Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay. “Partnering with companies like DHL, the leaders in sustainable e-cargo transport, is a testament that the electric era is upon us.”
DHL Express expects to use the aircraft on feeder routes, likely loaded with e-commerce. The aircraft require little station infrastructure, it added.
“The next time you order an on-demand package, check if it was delivered with a zero-emission aircraft like DHL will be doing,” said Eviation executive chairman Roei Ganzarski.
Parent DP-DHL has pledged to invest €7bn by 2030 in measures to reduce its CO2 emissions, with a particular focus on the electrification of the last-mile delivery fleet, sustainable aviation fuels and climate-neutral buildings.
Alice aircraft are designed in both cargo and passenger variants.